Rep. Joseph Sanchez/Courtesy photo
BY MAIRE O’NEILL
Rep. Joseph Sanchez is to introduced a Memorial in the Legislature requesting that any taxation task force convened in 2023 by the governor or the Legislature be requested to research and develop legislative recommendations and alternatives that can promote more equitable regional tax distributions from Los Alamos National Laboratory or similar federal research facilities in New Mexico.
The Memorial, if passed, would also require that the Legislative Finance Committee and the Revenue Stabilization and Tax Policy Committee be required to study in the event that no taxation task force is commissioner in 2023.
Sanchez, a Democrat, represents Colfax, Mora, Rio Arriba and San Miguel Counties.
The discussion draft of the House Memorial notes that in 2022, LANL annually purchased more than $915 million in goods in the state. It says in 2022 LANL contracts were awarded to small businesses that totaled more than $613 million. It gives 14,000 as the number of employees in 2022 and says they are mostly from Northern New Mexico. It maintains LANL operations and construction resulted in more than $136 million in gross receipts tax (GRT) in 2022.
In wording similar to Rep. Sanchez’s unsuccessful 2019 Memorial, the updated language notes that Northern New Mexico communities and residents built and have maintained the facilities since LANL’s inception and are an indispensable component of the current workforce. The proposed Memorial says 55 percent of LANL employees live outside Los Alamos County in surrounding counties and that the impacts of LANL operations affect all those communities.
“The majority of (LANL) employees live outside of Los Alamos County, with approximately 55 percent of LANL employees residing in the surrounding counties, and the operations of the Laboratory impacts all of Northern New Mexico,” the memorial states.
The memorial says there are current legislative efforts to tax LANL regardless of whether the Laboratory was to become a nonprofit entity and that the local revenue distribution from the LANL gross receipts tax currently paid to the state greatly benefits Los Alamos County and does not benefit the rest of Northern New Mexico. It states that the communities outside Los Alamos County contribute greatly to the success of LANL and that the importance of equitable regional tax distribution for communities and workforces outside Los Alamos County must continue to be examined.
The memorial also asks that the Legislative Finance Committee and the Revenue Stabilization and Tax Policy Committee study the issue in the event no taxation task force is commissioned in 2019.